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French-Spanish legend Manu Chao to release first album in 17 years

French-Spanish music legend Manu Chao to release first album in 17 years
French-Spanish music legend Manu Chao to release first album in 17 years Copyright Radio Bemba/Because Music
Copyright Radio Bemba/Because Music
By David Mouriquand
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It’s been a hot minute, but he's finally back. Here's why we're excited about 'Viva Tu', Manu Chao's first album in 17 years.

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French-Spanish singer Manu Chao has announced a new album, ‘Viva Tu’, due in September, 17 years after his last studio album. 

The 63-year-old singer-musician announced the comeback LP on his website, a month after posting a first single, also entitled ‘Viva Tu’.  

Yesterday (Wednesday 26 June), he released a second track, ‘Sao Paulo Motoboy’, a hymn to the Brazilian megalopolis' motorcycle delivery drivers "who risk their lives every day on two wheels in the great metropolis".  

The upcoming new album is said to be “inspired by his travels and people’s daily lives,” with songs in Spanish, French, Portuguese and English, with collaborations from Willie Nelson on the song ‘Heaven’s Bad Day’ and French singer Laeti on ‘Tu Te Vas.’ 

Viva Tu - out on 20 September
Viva Tu - out on 20 SeptemberRadio Bemba/Because Music

Like on his previous records, the project will address global issues, topics near and dear to the artist who is known for his outspoken political activism and engagement in topical matters.

Manu Chao not only sings in multiple languages, but practices music as a kind of humanistic global activism, expressing solidarity across borders with lyrics about immigration, anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, drugs, and love.  

The news of a new album is a big deal, not only because we’re huge fans of Manu Chao here at Euronews Culture, but also because the artist has only released four studio albums.  

His debut ‘Clandestino’ dropped in 1998, to worldwide acclaim.

He had previously founded the punk rock-folk-flamenco-reggae band Mano Negra in 1987, achieving considerable success, particularly in Europe, with hit songs like ‘Pas assez de toi’, ‘King of Bongo’ and ‘Out of Time Man’.

His first solo endeavour after the band’s breakup in 1995 made him a global star. The record is an entrancing and lively blend of reggae, rock, raï and samba, which garnered much critical praise and air play, with hits like ‘Clandestino’, ‘Bongo Bong’ and ‘Desaparecido’ - sung in Spanish, English, French and Catalan.

The album was ranked number 469 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2020.

It was followed in 2001 by ‘Próxima Estación: Esperanza’, an equally exciting multi-cultural patchwork of influences and styles that included Spanish and Latin American folk, African rhythms and plenty of reggae.

The lead single, ‘Me Gustas Tú’, sung in both Spanish and French to better reflect his dual identity through a naively romantic song about confusion and loss, was an instant hit. That track alone has more than 341 million views on YouTube.

His sophomore effort earned him a Grammy nomination and a spot on our list of the Best European Albums of the 21st Century.  

2002’s 'Radio Bemba Sound System' was a live album, followed by the underrated concept LP 'Sibérie m’était contéee’ in 2004 – his first exclusively French language album which shines because of its word play and storytelling regarding life in Paris.

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The song ‘Petite blonde du Boulevard Brune’ may be one of his greatest and most underappreciated tracks.  

His last album was ‘La Radiolina’ in 2007, and after selling millions of copies of his records, he has been pursuing an under-the-radar career, continuing to perform in the four corners of the world with his live band Radio Bemba.

Here is the tracklist for the new LP ‘Viva Tu’:  

  1. Vecinos En El Mar
  2. La Couleur du Temps
  3. River Why
  4. Viva Tu
  5. Heaven’s Bad Day (Feat. Willie Nelson)
  6. Tu Te Vas (Feat. Laeti)
  7. Coração No Mar
  8. Cuatro Calles
  9. La Colilla
  10. São Paulo Motoboy 
  11. Tom Et Lola
  12. Lonely Night
  13. Tantas Tierra

 

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Viva Tu is out on 20 September. It’s already one of our most anticipated albums of the second half of 2024. Manu Chao is currently on a world tour, with stops in Spain, Italy and France scheduled through September. 

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